What is Rooibos?
Rooibos tea, also known as Aspalathus linearis, is a common drink in South Africa and has been consumed there for years. It’s a unique type of tea, and isn’t quite as common just yet in the Western world. It is a mild flavored, fruity type of tea and is already growing in popularity with the rest of the world due not only to its delectable flavor but to its many health benefits. It is grown in the mountains of the Western Cape Province of South Africa and is sometimes called the African rooibos tea. It can be brewed and consumed hot, or made into a delicious iced tea. It has numerous health benefits and can truly add to a healthy lifestyle.
What does Rooibos Mean?
Rooibos means, “red bush.” It is an African word for the flowering shrub that grows in the Western Cape, north of Capetown, in the mountain region. It grows to five feet or so in height, with a red brown stem and needle like, vibrant green leaves. It is a legume shrub which has roots that are able to withstand the poor soils of the mountain region. Its roots can tolerate the acidic soils due to the abundance they have in nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
Antioxidants and Nutrients
The tea that is produced from this plant is delicious and it also has been recently discovered to have high antioxidant contents, like many other teas. Its vitamins and nutrients have led to its increase in popularity in the Western world. It has many health benefits, as do other teas, and is deliciously fruity flavored. It is sometimes blended in with herbal teas that are available today.
The Health Benefits
This tea is sweet on its own. It doesn’t have all the artifice and preservatives and additives of other teas, which makes it a much healthier choice. This tea is incredibly healthy with many benefits.
Research shows that rooibos tea can help with health problems such as headaches and that it may help to lower blood pressure as well. It can even help to prevent anxiety attacks, and helps to alleviate insomnia, and irritability. The tea has already been being used in South Africa to treat asthma, eczema, and hay fever. It is, like most teas, almost like a magical panacea in some ways. It has many other benefits as well. Rooibos can also help maintain healthy teeth, act as an anti-inflammatory, and help to fight off viruses. It has been shown to help with alleviating abdominal pains as well. And it contains elements which are beneficial to healthy skin. This type of tea also contains properties which help maintain healthy circulation of the blood and also helps to fight aging. It of course helps the body’s immunes system as well, like other teas, with all of its antioxidants. Here’s another benefit: Rooibos is free of caffeine! In this way, it is effective at helping alleviate stress, insomnia, and tension and can help relax a person.
It’s fruity and delicious, and healthy too!
According to “urban legend”, iced tea was discovered accidentally by an enterprising Englishman Richard Blechynden who had come all the way from Calcutta, India to represent teas from the Far East at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. Not meeting with much success in the stifling heat, Mr. Blechynden poured the tea over ice and met with a near instant success. However, the oldest printed recipes for iced tea were published in 1870. Russian tea with sugar and lemon slices was fashionable in the USA and served in hotels in 1860th under the name “tea a la Russe” both hot and cold.
America is unique in its tea consumption habits. In the United States over 85% of the tea is consumed as an iced beverage. Iced tea has gained wide spread popularity as an alternative to carbonated soft drinks being an attribute of a healthy life style. This refreshing drink is traditionally served sweetened or unsweetened with lemon slice over ice cubes in a tall glass. Black tea is the classic ingredient used to make iced tea. With incredible offers on the market today for black and green teas, Rooibos, blended teas, ayurvedic, flavored, herbal and fruit teas, try to find your preferred beverage by experimenting with such a variety. For iced tea to have consistent strengths from start to finish, use ice cubes made from leftover tea.
Here are three ways for making perfect iced tea:
Hot Water Method
Boil water. Steep your favorite tea with double the amount of loose leaf. Strain prepared drink to remove the tea leaves. Sweeten with sugar or honey if desired. Pour the strained tea into a pitcher with ice cubes. Serve in a tall glasses filed with additional ice cubes, garnish with a lemon slice and a spring of fresh mint.
Cold Water Method
This method is the best to achieve a crystal clear drink result. Fill a large pitcher with cold water and loose leaf tea (8 teaspoons of tea per 4 cups of water), let it chill overnight. Strain the mixture to remove tea leaves. Sweeten with sugar syrup if desired. Serve and enjoy.
Sugar syrup: combine equal amounts of water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to boil and simmer until clear, about 7 minutes. Cool and store in refrigerator. You may add lemon zest to the mixture while boiling, proceed as directed, discard the zest and enjoy lemon sugar syrup with your favorite iced tea!
“Sun tea” is tea brewed by being left to steep in the sunlight. In a glass jar, combine water and loose leaf tea (8 teaspoons of tea per 4 cups of water). Place the jar in a warm, sunny location for 3-4 hours. Strain the mixture to remove tea leaves. Sweeten with sugar syrup if desired. Chill in refrigerator. Serve and enjoy!
There are also lots of different variations of iced tea. Common modifications to the traditional recipe include adding fresh fruit, flavored syrups, cranberry or orange juice, sparkling water and even champagne to make a delicious tea drink. Bubble tea is very popular in Taiwan and worth to try on a hot summer day as an exotic desert. A strong black tea sweetened with condensed milk and served cold with large tapioca pearls. Great low calorie desert that quenches your thirst! The possibilities for making a unique and refreshing glass of iced tea are virtually countless. Experiment and enjoy your summer!